What is the Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia?

The dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia states that symptoms may be caused by an excess of dopamine in the mid-brain and a reduction in dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. This hypothesis came from the finding that drugs that block dopamine (dopamine antagonists, such as antipsychotics) reduce the positive symptoms of schziphrenia. Additionally, drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease (that increase dopamine, such as L-DOPA) can have the side effect of producing psychosis-like symptoms.

This hypothesis has been supported not only by drug therapies but through post-mortem and brain imaging studies that report excess D2 receptors in the brains of people with schizophrenia.However, the relationship between dopamine and schizophrenia is merely correlational therefore we cannot determine causality, it is over simplistic as we know other neurotransmitters such as serotonin play a role and this is not considered and therefore this hypothesis may be criticised as being reductionist. Despite this it has useful applications and is perhaps one of the oldest and most widely supported hypothesis of schizophrenia.

Illustration of a video tutorial

Need help with Psychology?

One to one online tuition can be a great way to brush up on your Psychology knowledge.

Have a Free Meeting with one of our hand picked tutors from the UK’s top universities

Find a tutor

Related Psychology A Level answers

All answers ▸

Outline the key features of the working memory model (6 marks)


How do I know when to choose which statistical test?


How would you answer an essay question on the behavioural approach to treating phobias?


What is the difference between reinforcement and punishment in operant conditioning?


We're here to help

+44 (0) 203 773 6020support@mytutor.co.ukContact us
Facebook logoTwitter logoGooglePlus logoLinkedIn logo

© MyTutorWeb Ltd 2013–2021

Terms & Conditions|Privacy Policy